"We have a huge opportunity here to provide fast, safe, reliable, clean transportation in this country," he said.

By Alison Fox
May 03, 2021
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President Joe Biden stopped Amtrak's 50th Anniversary festivities on Friday to celebrate a mode of transportation that's near and dear to his heart.

One of the company's biggest fans, Biden rode the train daily during his years in the senate, clocking more than 1 million miles, and even earning the nickname "Amtrak Joe."

"These guys and women, they work like the devil," he said during a speech at the Philadelphia celebration. "And Amtrak wasn't just a way of getting home, it provided me — and I'm not joking — an entire other family."

It's also a more environmentally-friendly way to get from Point A to B, and a means of connecting people to cities, Biden noted.

"Think of what it will mean for opportunity if we can connect Milwaukee to Green Bay to Madison... It's going to provide jobs and it will also accommodate jobs," Biden said. "We have a huge opportunity here to provide fast, safe, reliable, clean transportation in this country. And transit is part of the infrastructure."

And while Biden said the U.S. is "way behind" much of the world when it comes to high-speed rail (Japan is testing a train capable of traveling 374 mph), he said America can catch up.

Joe Biden
Credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

"There's so much we can do and it has such an incredibly positive impact on the environment, incredibly positive impact on work, on opportunities," he said. "We have to invest."

To that end, Amtrak's CEO Bill Flynn said the company hopes to expand rail service to connect to up to 160 new communities, and increase service to the overwhelming majority of the company's top 50 metropolitan areas. Additionally, he said Amtrak plans to introduce new high-speed Acela trains as well as invest in train stations as they did with New York's Moynihan Train Hall.

"America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable, and equitable train service," Flynn said.

To celebrate five decades, Amtrak is offering passengers 50% off fares, up to $50 off each segment. Those who want to take advantage must book by May 5 and travel between June 2 and Nov. 13.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.